Coles Family Brewery

The Coles Family Brewery recently picked up a silver award at Wales the True Taste. Although a brewery, their award winning Carmarthenshire Gold is in fact a cider, more of that later.

The Brewery is based at the White Heart in Llanddarog, east of Carmarthen on the A48 towards Cross Hands. The White Heart is a beautiful thatched pub and, if you’ve never been there you can take a virtual tour. Until recently, the brewery was a one-barrel plant based in the pub itself. That plant still exists, but expansion has led to a bigger four-barrel plant in a building the other side of their car park. To see Coles Family Brewery in action check out this video taking you through the whole brewing process.

Brewing started in the original plant back in 1999 and was just to supply the pub. But, with the opening of the new brewery in January they can begin to supply other pubs and enable wider distribution for their bottled beers.

The larger brewery will now produce their core range such as Cwrw Blasus, their bitter, Llanddarog, a dark brown bitter, Swn y Dail which is made with US hops and Merlin Stout.

The smaller brewery will be used both for trial brews which, if popular, can be scaled up in the bigger plant and for their seasonal speciality beers. A number of speciality beers have been produced made with all kinds of ingredients such as beetroot, nettle and a liquorice stout.

So plenty for the beer drinker but they also make cider during the apple harvest season. They make four ciders in total from dry to sweet and a champagne-style sparkling cider using the Gala dessert apple variety. The fact that they do not always use cider apples makes Coles a little different to many Welsh cider-makers. All the apples arrive whole and are pressed into juice, fermented and matured on site as can be seen in this little clip – cider-making.

Some of their apples are local but they also get some from elsewhere, including just over the border in England, depending on the bountifulness of the local harvest.

Carmarthenshire Gold itself is a medium dry cider and uses both dessert and cooking apples. The lack of cider apples will mean no tannin in the final cider but cooking apples will give it a good sharpness.

So, next time you’re down that way make sure you call in to enjoy this great pub and their excellent beers and ciders. Although the pub is definitely worth the visit, wider distribution will hopefully mean that their products reach a wider audience in the not too distant future, which would be a great development.

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